When the British Open begins on July 19, we will already know that Webb Simpson won't win consecutive majors. The 2012 U.S. Open champion has officially confirmed that he is skipping out on the British Open due to a family matter. Simpson and his wife will welcome their second child around the same time.
Wisely, he is opting to skip out on a chance at history so that he can be with his family. While that's a good thing for Simpson, it's a little disappointing for golf fans. No one should criticize Simpson for his decision, but it's okay to be a little disappointed.
I was kind of hoping to see Simpson make a run at winning a second consecutive major. That doesn't happen very often. Padraig Harrington is the last golfer to do it, winning the British Open and PGA Championship in 2008. The U.S. Open and British Open double is even rarer. That has only happened six times, most recently with Tiger Woods in 2000. Had Simpson managed to pull that off, he would have joined an exclusive group that includes Tom Watson and Bobby Jones. It's always nice to see something rare unfold on the golf course. We won't get that chance in 2012.
Simpson becomes the second major winner in 2012 to skip a big event shortly after winning a title. Masters champion Bubba Watson took a break to spend time with his wife and child. He missed the Players Championship in May. While it might seem unusual to see major winners skip events like those, we should all be happy to see it. It's refreshing to see athletes value their family above anything else. Watson and Simpson are two guys that are shining examples of what we should like about golf. That said, we miss them when they aren't at the big tournaments.
To be fair, Simpson probably wasn't going to win the British Open anyway. Every bit of recent history suggests that someone else was going to win that event. Still, it would have been fun to see how he played overseas. Now we will have to see how he does at the PGA Championship. At the end of the day, Simpson is making the right choice and the British Open will still be a great event.* - Mark Paul is a an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.